17 October 2023
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Charter trains, and meetings, may be subject to cancellation
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Friday 3 November Clwyd Railway Circle The Railway in
Conway. Larry Davies
Friday 10 November. Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation
Society Paul Shackcloth "People and Places 2". Images of the
steam railway with at least one person visible.
Saturday 25 November Railway Touring Company 'The Christmas
Cheshireman' steam hauled Bristol - Chester and return
Friday 1 December Clwyd Railway Circle Members Night
Presentations. Members are invited to give a 15-minute
presentation of their choice.
Saturday 9 December Pathfinder Tours 'The Chester Christmas
Cromptons.' WCRC Class 33 locos Eastleigh - Chester
Friday 12 January. Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation
Society Simon Temple on "South Asian Steam in 1982" -
features India, Pakistan and Nepal.
Friday 9 February. Altrincham Electric Railway
Preservation Society John Hooley. "Euston and
Destinations: the Potteries
and the North West". Steam in action on passengers and
Friday 1 March (note the first Friday of the month).
Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Dennis
Flood. "Edge Hill Motive Power Depot". Dennis will entertain
us with tales from his career on the footplate in the 1960s.
Friday 12 April. Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation
Society David Beilby. "Transport around the World by GEC and
its predecessors". A joint meeting with the Irish Railway
Record Society Manchester branch.
Calendar page for meeting venues)
North Wales Coast Railway website created and
compiled by Charlie
1A50 12:49 Holyhead to London Euston, worked by 221 115
and 221 102 passes Gwrych Castle on 5 October.
Picture by Greg Mape.
Don't miss last
week's extra issue - Charlie
Correction: The recent
railtour that was unable to go to the Conwy Valley due to
floods was given permission from Network Rail to go to
Holyhead, rather than stay at Llandudno Junction.
Stop press: we understand that the
Class 175 sets are 'off-lease' after Friday 20 October.
A visit to Chester - with Ell Jones
A few weeks back when the Pacer came to Chester I took the
opportunity to snap a shot of the yard, showcasing a variety
of units which given a year or two won’t be possible to see,
with the 175s slowly coming off lease and the 197s taking
over. Also present was 950 001, Network Rail's
track assessment unit. The 175 (175 010) has since
moved, I believe to Ilford, for storage/repair (I’m inclined
to believe the former)
Also saw both old and new Merseyrail units in the form of
508 131 ...
... and 777 010. Having gone to Bache and back as a
test on the 777, they are good units and a worthy
replacement to the BR 507/508 fleets which will always have
a certain charm to them.
Also looks to be some work going on with the roof, is it
being overhauled > as part of the upgrade works?
Chester station, 1956
While cataloguing prints in the Manchester Locomotive
Society collection, the above picture caught my
attention. Taken by an unknown photograph in 1956,
showing what is now Platform 3. Business is brisk at the
'Railbar' ; some of the crowd have been persuaded to stand
back for the passing if what seems to be a refreshment
trolley. In the bay platform what looks like a 2-6-4T has
arrived with a train from Birkenhead.
Logging the Aberystwyth Logs - by Graham Breakwell
Traction news is that on 13 October 37 405, towed by 56
105 was taken from Coleham to Barrow Hill for
attention which later returned to Coleham after collecting 37
607, another Harry Needle loco, from Derby.
The latest Chirk - Aberystwyth service came up with some
interesting movements, starting on 13 October when the empty
stock arrived from Chirk at 02:37 at Coton Hill sidings,
continuing to Aberystwyth the next morning at 02:50.
The loaded train ran on 16 October as 6C55, the 09:47 from
Aberystwyth, with a scheduled 52-minute stop in Shrewsbury
Above, 97 302 and newcomer 37 607 bring the log
train off the Cambrian line.
The service changed locos at Sutton Bridge Junction /
Coleham, after which the leg to Chirk was cancelled
and replaced with a short trip to Coton Hill at 13:50. That
was then cancelled and after some shunting to clear the
Coleham depot’s longest siding and the depot entrance/exit
the train was stabled in the depot until finally moving on
to Coton Hill at 23:17.
Passing the Sutton Hill signal box before coming to a halt,
reversing into the headshunt and moving into Coleham depot.
56 105 moves out to take over the train.
Llangollen, 15 October - by Ken Robinson
This weekend saw the last diesel-hauled services on the
Llangollen Railway for 2023 (with the exception of Santa
trains). Attached are a few photos from Sunday, 15 October,
which was blessed with sunny weather. Above, Class 47 1566
seen between Carrog and Corwen with the 10:30 from
1566 at Corwen ready to work the 11:50 back to Llangollen,
with the observation saloon behind the loco.
Glyndyfrdwy sees 1566 waiting just long enough for me to hop
off to take a photo!
Barmouth Bridge progress - report by Chris Scott
Barmouth bridge on the morning of 4 October. As you will see
the original arched portions of the bridge have been cut up
into sections, lowered to waiting barges and removed. The
new sections are in position but have still to be lowered
A road/rail type of JCB in front of the new sections of the
bridge. I am guessing that the white clamp-like objects that
can be seen are the means by which the old sections are
lowered on to the waiting barges.
Later in the day shows the road/rail unit has moved into the
town, I suspect to pick up essential supplies - fish and
The area where the barges carrying the redundant portions of
the old metal arches are brought on barges, moored to the
scaffolding piers and then removed by the large plant on
site. These portions are then removed to the compound at the
north end of Barmouth promenade, where a convoy of scrap
recovery wagons were waiting.
Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland scenes
WHR Garratt 87 on the moors near Beddgelert...
... and in Beddgelert station.
Pictures by Greg Mape, 14 October.
On display at Porthmadog on 7 October at the 'Bygones
Weekend, the Ffestiniog's new-build loco, to be named James
The loco was in light steam shunting back and to at Harbour
Station. It re-uses the bogies from retired Earl of
Later in the day we witnessed David Lloyd George
making a spirited departure from the station.
Headbolt Lane station opens - report by George Jones
The Merseyrail extension beyond Kirkby finally opened on
Thursday 5 October with an initial hourly service from
Liverpool Central using the sub class of battery powered
777/1s for the non-electrified section to new station
serving the Tower Hill area of Kirkby. I went along on
Tuesday 10 October connecting with the 13:05 service from
Central with 777 148 (above).
On arrival at Kirkby for 13:22 the third rail shoes were
retracted and the unit went forward on battery power. Beyond
Kirkby the new track extension splits into two lines which
will eventually accommodate a 15 min frequency and after 0.8
miles terminated in platform 1 at Headbolt Lane station for
Looking forward on leaving the train the new terminal
facilities are apparent with the substantial station
building, including ticket office, and flat access to
platform 2, beyond which is platform 3 for the separated
Northern Trains line to Wigan and Blackburn routed via
Manchester Victoria. There is a substantial fence which
blocks off a view of the split platforms!
Platform 3 looking towards Rainford with the old line
still visible behind the fencing pending any future
and the exit off the Northern platform. The black panel is
to prevent train drivers being dazzled by trains in the
The timetabled connection between a Northern arrival at
13:39 and a Merseyrail departure at 13:39 was very tight and
only for the fleet of foot! But as the Northern ran two
minutes mins late according Rail Time Trains I doubt a
connection was made on the day. It will be better when the
15-minute Merseyrail service operates.
The visit allowed for a 12-minute quick examination of the
new station, all built to modern standards of course and an
example of what one gets with a price tag of £80m including
the new track, signalling and new rail over road bridge on
the extension. As of now the extensive car park is
incomplete and contractors are still at work. The station
name may be meaningless to non-local travellers and to help
awareness the destination is being displayed as Headbolt
Lane for Kirkby on screens on and off the trains.
Platform 2 provides the alternative Merseyrail termination
and Ian Henderson sampled it on Thursday 12 October when he
rode the enhanced half-hourly service from Liverpool at
09:35 again with 777 146.
From Dave Sallery's Archive
20 903 and 20 904 on the weedkilling train at
Llandudno Junction in September 1991.
37 680 and 37 685 pass Kinmel Bay on the
empty hoppers from Salford Hope Street to Penmaenmawr, 12
40 015 on the Dee Marsh to Arpley Speedlink service;
the wagon behind the loco a scrap-metal carrier. This
would be in the period before Dee Marsh to Mickle Trafford
reopened, 14 July 1984
A westbound HST leaving Prestatyn in March 1992.
Looking back: HSTs Part 2 - by David Pool
The preserved HST prototype power car 41 001 was illustrated
in the Notove Board last week. The second power car 41
002 was also exhibited at Shildon on 29 May 1975, the
two cars being numbered 252 001. Power car 41 002
caried the coaching stock number W43001, having been running
on the Western Region. Locomotion No.1 is the
replica, which had been running at Beamish, and is seen to
be in steam. The original Locomotion No.1 is
exceedingly fragile, and is now kept indoors.
The Leamside branch in County Durham is a candidate for
reopening to ease the capacity problems on the East Coast
main line through Durham. In the 80s it was often used
as a diversionary route, and on 16 March 1989 the Intercity
1100 Kings Cross to Edinburgh was passing through
Fencehouses, headed by power car 43 066.
Unfortunately the practice of displaying the numbers on the
front of HST power cars was later discontinued, and it
became particularly difficult to identify a particular
vehicle when the numbers were made as unobtrusive as
possible somewhere on the side of the car.
The Midland Mainline HSTs certainly had an attractive
livery, and the numbers were sufficiently large to be
relatively easily read. 43 064 and 43 083
were the power cars on the 11:24 Sheffield to St. Pancras as
it approached Clay Cross South Junction on 17 March
Little Bedwyn (near Hungerford) is the classic location for
my shot of a Great Western HST in the “Merlin” livery.
The 11:35 Paddington to Plymouth on 3 May 1999 had 43 133 on
the rear, but I was unsure of the number of the leading
power car. Does anyone have records of the HST sets
working from Paddington at this time?
The numbers on the GNER power cars were especially difficult
to read, being thin gold figures on the red stripe.
The 1455 Aberdeen to Kings Cross on 31 May 1999 was
photographed coming off the Tay Bridge at Wormit. The
rear power car was 43 116, but again I was not able
to get the number of the leading power car as it passed
By 2004 most of the Privatisation liveries had been changed,
not always for the better, as illustrated by the latest
Midland Mainline livery carried by 43 062 and 43
013 on 24 May, passing through Chinley with the 12:47
Manchester Piccadilly to St. Pancras during the “Project
Rio” diversions. I assume the rather strange livery on
the power cars was deliberately made to contrast with the
coaching stock to discourage passengers from trying to use
the rear doors on the power cars!
There seems to be some confusion with the nicknames being
used for some of the HST power cars in use today, since I
have seen the preserved 43 002 in the retro blue/yellow
livery described as the “Yellow Banana”. As far as I
know, the “Banana” description originated on HSTs with the
“Flying Banana”, which referred to the New Measurement
Train of Network Rail, introduced in 2003. The
NMT has been gradually upgraded since then, with Paxman
Valenta engines in the power cars being replaced by MTU
engines, and more recently the coaches having new logos and
lettering with the “Improving Your Railway” theme. The
NMT was passing through Mold Junction on 16 May 2013, headed
by 43 062 John Armitt with 43 013 Mark
Carne on the rear.
Previously in Virgin Trains East Coast livery, the LNER
branding on the East Coast HSTs was short lived, as they
were soon replaced by the fleet of Azumas. The 12:00
Kings Cross to Inverness on 12 June 2019 was headed by 43
295, with 43 296 on the rear. Although the nearby
Werrington Junction has been remodelled recently, the
footbridge at Marholm still provides good views of trains on
all five tracks.
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